Information, Resources & Support
Facts: Young People & Alcohol
- Compared to adults, young people are at greater risk of alcohol-related harm.
- Drinking alcohol can impact brain development up until the age of 25, resulting in affected attention, memory, and decision-making abilities.
- Teenagers are likely to drink more and take more risks when drinking compared to older people.
- Alcohol exposes teenagers to a greater risk of injury and harm, and doing things they may later regret, than adults.
- The earlier a young person is introduced to alcohol, and the more frequently they drink, the more likely they are to become dependant on alcohol later in life.
- Delaying drinking alcohol as long as possible can help to reduce harms. The Australian alcohol guidelines recommend delaying the first drink until at least 18 years of age.
- While young people are less likely to drink alcohol than past generations, when they do, they are likely to drink to intoxication, resulting in injuries, alcohol poisoning and sometimes death.
- Alcohol contributes to the three leading causes of death among young people which are unintentional injuries, homicide and suicide.
Having the ‘Other Talk’
Talking with your child about alcohol is important because:
- Research shows that parents’ attitudes and actions have a huge impact on a young person’s drinking behaviour.
- Your rules around alcohol use can decrease the likelihood of your young person engaging in risky drinking.
- Your decision not to allow your young person to drink is backed by laws in most states and territories.
The ADF has produced a helpful guide for having a positive conversation with young people about alcohol and drugs. View and download the ADF’s guide to having ‘the other talk’ below.
For more information and helpful resources for parents from the ADF click here to go to their website.
The article “Alcohol and Your Teenage Brain” explains why alcohol and the teenage brain don’t mix – click here to read the article.
A Global Approach to Prevention:
Planet Youth Conference 2020: Prevention is Possible
Case Study: Reducing Teen Substance Use in Iceland
TED Talk: How Iceland Got Teens to Say No to Drugs
Drugs and the Development of the Brain:
Adolescence and emerging adulthood are periods of significant brain growth and development. Scientists call the adolescent brain highly ‘neuroplastic’ because it is a time of organising, construction and strengthening of connections in the brain. The Respect Your Brain animated video series focuses on the impact of three drugs commonly used in Australia and explores the way these drugs affect a young person’s developing brain. For more info go to the ‘Your Room’ Health NSW website here.
Alcohol and the Brain
Cannabis and the Brain
MDMA and the Brain
Australian Drug Foundation Information Services | Telephone counselling, support, referrals and information for those affected by alcohol or other drugs | 24 hours 7 days | http://www.adf.org.au | call 1800 250 015
Lifeline | crisis support, suicide prevention, 24/7 phone support | National 24 hours | http://www.lifeline.org.au | call 13 11 14 | text service (12noon to midnight) txt 0477 13 11 14
Kids Helpline | phone counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25 years and their parents and carers | National | http://www.kidshelpline.com.au | call 1800 55 1800
MYST – Mountains Youth Services Team | youth centres, outdoor programs, individual support for young people | Springwood, Katoomba | http://www.myst.com.au | call 1300 00 MYST (6978) | email@example.com
Platform Youth Services | homelessness, essentials, individual support for young people | Penrith, Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury | http://www.platformys.org.au | call 02 4760 0800 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Headspace | mental health support, health advice, and general information for young people aged 12 – 25 years | Katoomba, Penrith | http://www.headspace.org.au | call 1800 478 626 | email@example.com
Beyond Blue | information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health | National | http://www.beyondblue.org.au | call 1300 22 4636
Blue Mountains City Council – Mountains of Help | A directory with advice about support services for young people in the Blue Mountains | Online Directory | http://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/community/mountains-of-help | call 02 4780 5000
Planet Youth Blue Mountains is an Alcohol and Drug Foundation funded initiative that is being implemented by the Local Drug Action Team in partnership with Blue Mountains City Council and Mountains Youth Services Team (MYST) and supported by local schools, community members and a number of community services including Platform Youth Services, Ted Noffs Foundation, Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network, Stronger Families Alliance, Belong Blue Mountains, Springwood Neighbourhood Centre, Blackheath Area Neighbourhood Centre, Blue Mountains Women’s Health & Resource Centre, Catholic Care, Uniting, TAFE Blue Mountains and the NSW Department of Education.